State Senate Majority Leader Wants Close Eye on Smart Meters

Study shows that users want smart meter data, but companies not forthcoming

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    State Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, at microphone, is continuing on his crusade against PG&E's ham-fisted smart meter rollout that cause a stir in Florez' Bakersfield district.

    California Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez is continuing his crusade against faulty smart meters by asking that utility companies give reports on faulty meters to the California Public Utilities Commission.

    The reports would also include data on how many bills were sent based on estimated usage because of broken or inaccurate readings.

    Smart meters are supposed to help both utilities and consumers manage energy production and usage by sending usage information over a data connection.

    A recent Boston Consulting Group study shows that the majority of consumers would like to be able to access the usage data themselves, and would check a website at least once a week to see when and how they're using power so that they could try to reduce consumption.

    However, utilities have been slow to actually educated and enable users to manage individual energy use.

    For instance, Pacific Gas & Electric hasn't included any sort of monitoring application for customers as part of its roll out of smart meters in California.

    Yet the utility blames a lack of understanding about the devices for widespread reports of massive bills after smart meter installation that original piqued the interest of Florez.

    Jackson West figures PG&E was too busy educating customers about Proposition 16 to bother to explain their smart meters.